Friday, July 20, 2007

Records; British set-up; Pig previews

Legitimacy, soul brothers and lack of appreciation...

Barry Bonds
, well, any drop in to this site knows how the homering honcho is viewed here but with his two blasts Thursday, even I was juiced at the inevitable breaking of Hank Aaron's career mark for powdered baseballs. Regardless of the man's legitimacy as a record breaker, he is going to do it, and regardless of his pitiful attitude off the field, he is one of the most amazing talents ever in any sport. History is upon us and soon to change.

The most talked about challenger to Bonds' mark will be another fantastic player not universally loved -- Alex Rodriguez. His feats are almost taken for granted. It will be a story on how excited people are when he approaches Bonds' soon-to-be record.

Bonds feels hounded, disrespected and hurt. He wonders why his hard work and rare ability to see, hit and destroy pitches is being overlooked and why additives to his training are getting all the news, especially when they were not declared illegal at the time of use. Bonds' personality has always been disgraceful but his focus has always been on playing at the highest level; he's been committed to his craft and excelled. He's earned every penny of his paychecks. It says here that his greatest sin is not the doping questions but how he's conducted himself towards others. If he took steroids, then he's wrong and should be Hall of Fame voters. If he merely took questionable supplements, he is owed one big, nationwide apology.

Garcia grabs positioning at Carnoustie

Sergio Garcia has first glory at the British Open after posting a sparkling 66 in the tournament's opening round.

Tiger Woods is four shots back and where he can still be dangerous.

The scores may not remain so low but a good initial showing has given the top of the field confidence on a notoriously difficult course and with confidence, comes daring play and potential for great moments.


Stephon Marbury is talking Italy when his contract with the Knicks ends, supposedly because his wife loved the country on a visit they took. Now why would an inner city guy all about flash want to leave the country to play, other than the facts that the Italians wouldn't require him to play defense or be unselfish with the ball either? Marbury is just letting his mouth run without a leash. Maybe he sees himself as the American Beckham.

Do Yi Jianlian's handlers know they are killing him in the press. Before the draft, fans were intrigued by his talent, wondering if he would be as successful as countryman Yao Ming. Now, once he finally hits the court, for Milwaukee or any other outpost, he is going to be seen as selfish and arrogant and the Chinese will be wondering, "why are youhatin' on our boy?" Smart? Shortsighted? Dumb? Instead of cheers he will be met by boos. Nice diplomacy.

Culpepper in Tampa

Daunte Culpepper, a Florida boy just curbed by the Dolphins, met with the Buccaneers to talk money and opportunity. The WSN mentioned KC and Detroit as good spots for the jumbo-sized quarterback but Tampa Bay would also be a good fit. He can still be a starter, and a good one, in the NFL.

Loco for local

On the courts

Louis Amundson, a former Colorado prep, who balled collegiately at UNLV is playing some aggressive, productive basketball in the summer league and showing strong signs he could stick in the NBA as an end-of-the bench energy player.

Jason Smith is playing with zest and displaying his athleticism and scoring talents but on the boards, he is looking overmatched, as a 7-footer. Maybe no one told him he's not in Fort Collins anymore. Now word that he has an ankle sprain. In time, Smith has the looks of a player who will become someone but he is not ready made. He has a lot to learn and his confidence and work ethic will be key to his future.

CU's Richard Roby's stock is dead. From one-time first-round potential his name is now not seen on the 2008 forecast by That will change. Roby doesn't lack ability or skills and new coach Jeff Bzdelik will make the swing man tougher and more determined and that combination will have Roby in the first round next June.

CU is going to play Denver, Air Force, Wyoming and CSU and it doesn't matter one bit what the records of those schools might be, this is the way it should be, annually. It's great for local basketball and the games the fans can relate to.

More Buffs...CU gets a commitment from 6-foot-9 Trey Eckloff from Cherry Creek, who has underwhelming numbers despite overwhelming size for the prep level, but apparently the guy can hit the perimeter shot consistently and the Buffs see potential and their style of player in the Bruin.

Want to know how to make the Nuggets better without making a trade? Find a new coach. George Karl is a proven winner who has done good things in Denver but his approach to defense is minimal and he can be pushed around by the players. Find a Pat Riley, Greg Popovich-type of disciplinarian for this group a mile high and watch the Nuggets, health permitting, win 55 games and a playoff series or two. Book it.

General manager wanna-be Chauncey Billups lauds the Nuggets for picking up his amigo, guard Chucky Atkins, and letting Steve Blake split for Portland. While the WSN disagrees with that move entirely, Billups says Atkins is the gamer and shooter Blake, well, ain't.

Courage anyone

Who would have guessed Colorado would be playing competitive baseball this late into July. You? Me? Anyone? Despite the poor start the Rockies have proven to be a decent club. Not great, not good, but decent. The question is does general manager Dan O'Dowd do nothing and hope next season the team becomes a playoff contender or does he make a move, costing him minor league jewels? Difficult decision to consider but the move should be to always grab proven talent if health, pricing and attitude line up on the object of your desire.

That bullpen needs first-round pick Casey Weathers to develop and pronto. It is too often prone to breakdown, despite Brian Fuentes' resume and Manny Corpas' talent.

Buff won't ride off into sunset yet

Former CU star 'backer Chad Brown says "no" to retirement, signing a contract with the Patriots. His game is in the past, and he'll have difficulty making the team but if he does, what he provides, experience and leadership, is what makes good teams better. If he can see adequate playing time, Brown will even make a few big plays, like all smart veterans do.

Big 12 Preview

Texas is still the cream of the crop in the Big 12 but Missouri will be the North division kingpin according to The College Football News.

The Tigers have the quarterback in Chase Daniel and multiple offensive weapons. The talent level, no doubt, is up. But the question for MU is this -- will they play defense? Make the pick here Nebraska to win the North.

Colorado is picked to be better but still not a winner, which was already written here (4-8 prediction).

CFN picked Oklahoma State as the team to watch and surprise and the WSN can't agree more. The Cowboys are overflowing with power on offense -- fast, skilled players everywhere, and defensively are coming around. The Pokes will not only excel in conference play but if they don't trip over themselves they will make a real push up the rankings.

Three Buffs earned preseason attention from the publication -- linebacker Jordan Dizon, DB Terrence Wheatley and defensive tackle George Hypolite.

The Black and Gold Truth is this -- Dizon is a grinder that coaches love, knowing he is all about working, producing and winning. Wheatley, if healthy, and supported by any sort of pass rush up front is a quality collegiate corner who can make plays. Hypolite, book it, can become the highest drafted CU defensive lineman since one-year wonder Tyler Brayton. And once he gets to the NFL, he can have an impact.

CSU gets little respect, expected to be a punching bag by CFN. Could happen as the program has fallen but the WSN is picking the Rams to rebound and have a winning record and be in the mix for a bowl game. It won't come easy but it should happen if running back Kyle Bell is healthy and the defense proves itself moderately capable.

Bell, tight end Kory Sperry, defensive back Klint Kubiak and defensive lineman Blake Smith get noticed by the publication. Bell, if his body is sound, needs no explanation. He is high impact. Sperry will make money on Sundays one day, Kubiak is smart, as you expect him to be, and makes plays and Smith gives the Rams some size and potential up front on "D."

Air Force is expected to start slow and finish fast but still have a losing record. Coach Troy Calhoun even told me in the past he has a lot of work to do with the Falcons.

Linebacker Drew Fowler and quarterback Shaun Carney were selected as some of the top players in the conference by CFN. Fowler, the program's most valuable player in 2006, is just a defender that the Academy doesn't generate often (think Chris Gizzi). He's a machine. Carney is the key to Calhoun's offense this season. He's a capable talent who should put up quality numbers.

Toughman competition, unsanctioned

CU defensive lineman Taj Kaynor and Chris Perri will get taken to the woodshed for fighting. On a team with so little margin for error, this was foolish, no matter the college culture and their youth. Perri is considered a potential pass rusher of influence and Kaynor is a developing talent with size who needs to show the goods on the field, not off of it.

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